Branched-chain amino acids enhance the cognitive recovery of patients with severe traumatic brain injury

Roberto Aquilani, Paolo Iadarola, Antonella Contardi, Mirella Boselli, Manuela Verri, Ornella Pastoris, Federica Boschi, Patrizia Arcidiaco, Simona Viglio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To investigate whether supplementation with branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) in patients with severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) improves recovery of cognition and influences plasma concentrations of tyrosine and tryptophan, which are precursors of, respectively, catecholamine and serotonin neurotransmitters in the brain. Design: Forty patients with TBI were randomly assigned to 15 days of intravenous BCAA supplementation (19.6g/d) (n=20) or an isonitrogenous placebo (n=20). Setting: Tertiary care rehabilitation setting in Italy. Participants: Forty men (mean age, 32±15y) with TBI and 20 healthy subjects (controls) matched for age, sex, and sedentary lifestyle. Intervention: Supplementation with BCAAs. Main Outcome Measures: Disability Rating Scale (DRS) and plasma concentrations of BCAAs, tyrosine, and tryptophan. Results: Fifteen days after admission to the rehabilitation department, the DRS score had improved significantly in both the placebo group (P

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1729-1735
Number of pages7
JournalArchives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2005


  • Amino acids, branched-chain
  • Brain injuries
  • Rehabilitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation


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